People Who Were There
Message #12 in a series on New Testament Personalities


Read : Acts 16:1-5; 1 Cor. 4:14-17; Phil. 2:19-22; 2 Tim. 1:4-7

Text : 1 Cor 4:17 (KJV) For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

Theme : Timothy's faithfulness to Jesus Christ, Paul's teaching, and Paul's lifestyle, made him an effective servant of Jesus Christ.


When we think of Timothy, we often associate him with timidity.

It is possible that he was a timid fellow.

It is also true, though, that he was incredibly faithful to His Lord, his mentor (Paul), and to the gospel; and as a result he saw many won to Christ and built up in the faith.

Let's learn from Timothy today.

I. Timothy As A New Missionary (Acts 16:1-5)

A. His background
1. Called "a disciple" (vs. 1)

QUESTION - What does this mean? What does it tell us of Timothy?

QUESTION - Are all Christians disciples? (cf. Matthew 28:19-20)

- Paul's first missionary trip included Timothy's town. (cf. Acts 14:6f)

- Timothy had heard the gospel. (cf. Acts 14:7)

- Timothy had seen (or at least heard of) the cost of discipleship. (cf. Acts 14:19)

QUESTION - Is there anything in this account of Timothy that might help us to be better disciples? ... help us to make better disciples of others?

2. From a split home (vs. 1)

- Mother was a saved Jew.

- Father was a Greek (unsaved gentile)

QUESTION - What effect would you expect such a divided environment to have on Timothy's spiritual development?

QUESTION - What do we learn about Timothy's mother from this? (i.e. something that encourages us in our witness? - cf. Rom 1:16 (KJV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.)

3. Had a good reputation as a Christian (vs. 2)

QUESTION - Why would this be particularly attractive to Paul? (Maybe because he was still smarting from the disappointment of John Mark?)

B. His circumcision (vs. 3)
QUESTION - Why in the world was this done?

QUESTION - Was it necessary for his salvation?

QUESTION - Was it part of his qualification for ministry?

READ - Gal. 2:3

QUESTION - Since Titus was not compelled to be circumcised, was Paul being inconsistent?

- The ISSUE with Titus was salvation by faith plus nothing - Paul would not compromise on the message.

- The ISSUE with Timothy was avoiding a stumbling block to the Jews. (cf. 1 Cor 9:19-22 (KJV) For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law, To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.)

C. His ministry (vss. 4-5)
- Faithfully delivered the message.

(This was a faithful aspect of his ministry throughout his life. cf. 2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Tim 4:2)

- Established the saved. (QUESTION - What does this word "established" mean?)

- Attracted the lost.

II. Timothy As Paul's Representative (1 Cor. 4:17)

QUESTION - This is our text verse for today's lesson, because in some ways it sums up Timothy's life and character. What characteristics of Timothy do you see in this one verse?
A. Paul's "son"
- A convert of Paul's ministry

- Perhaps even led to Christ by Paul, himself.

B. Faithful in the Lord.
Prov 20:6 (KJV) Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
C. Faithful to the message that Paul had entrusted to him.
"Remembrance" - Timothy taught what Paul had already taught. (He didn't feel the need to come up with something new. Oh that there was more of this today! New methods YES, new message NO!)

"In every church" - Timothy's message (and Paul's) was exactly the same wherever he preached it.

QUESTION - What does this say about the situation in Christianity today with so many different messages in so many different churches? What do we learn from Timothy about the solution to this?

III. Timothy As An Example of Humility (Phil. 2:19-22)

A. Like-minded with Paul. (vss. 20-21)
QUESTION - Was Timothy the only one who agreed with Paul's message? (Of course not.)

QUESTION - What, then, did Paul mean by verse 20?

ANSWER - Most put self first, Christ next (or worse).

QUESTION - Is this weakness prevalent among today's Christians? Examples?

QUESTION - When Paul contrasts Timothy with those described in verse 21, what is he saying about Timothy? (that he exemplified the opposite?)

B. Selfless as a servant of Christ (vs. 22)
QUESTION - What did Paul way was proof of Timothy's humility?

IV. Timothy As A Continuing Witness (2 Tim. 1:4-7)

A. Timothy's ministry had always been in the shadow of Paul.
- Saved by Paul.

- Discipled by Paul.

- Ministered with Paul.

- Sent by Paul to minister as his representative.

B. Now, Paul's ministry was over. (cf. 4:6)
QUESTION - How might this affect Timothy?

QUESTION - What might Timothy need to guard against?

C. Now, Timothy must continue to serve without Paul.
QUESTION - Paul mentioned the things that were present in Timothy's life that would help him carry on without his mentor. What were those things?

1. Unfeigned faith (i.e. faith without a trace of hypocrisy)

2. Godly heritage (mother and grandmother, and "I" - I think Paul was saying, "I, like your mother and grandmother, also have faith in you.")

3. Gift of God

QUESTION - What was this gift?

D. Timothy had all he needed to serve God, without Paul.
(and so do we)


(With heads bowed in prayer:)

God, help us to learn from Timothy as a new missionary. May we be disciples, as he was, faithfully delivering the message that can establish the church and attract the lost. May we, like Timothy, be willing to be all things to all men that we might by all means save some.

God, help us to learn from Timothy as a representative of Paul, never growing tired of the gospel, faithfully recounting it to everyone and in every place.

Help us to learn from Timothy as an example of humility, selfless in our service for Him.

And, help us to learn from Timothy as a continuing witness, remembering that You have given us all we need to serve you, in that you have given us salvation, a godly heritage, and the precious gift of your Holy Spirit.

God, help us to learn from Timothy.


Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright 1997 William E. Johnson.